Titanic Voices from the Disaster

by Deborah Hopkinson

The Titanic's Maiden Voyage

On Wednesday, April 10, 1912 at 12:00, the Titanic set sail on her maiden voyage. At 6:30 p.m. the Titanic anchored at Cherbourg, France to pick up more passengers. On the next day, April 11, at 11:30 a.m. the Titanic anchored at Queenstown to pick up more passengers while Father Frank Browne leaves the ship. On Sunday, April 14 the Titanic ignored ice warnings throughout the day. Later that evening, at 11:40 p.m. Lookout Frederick Fleet spotted an iceberg and the Titanic hit it on the right side of the ship. Not long after that at 11:50 p.m. water rises about 14 feet above the keel. The first five compartments take on water and the ship is going down. Then at 12:15 a.m. ships begin to receive the Titanic’s distress signals. Around 12:40 a.m. Lifeboat 7 is the first boat launched with only 27 or 28 people in it. That is half of its capacity of 65. Finally at 2:20 a.m. the Titanic sinks. Many lives were lost in the cold waters. Only one lifeboat returned to try and rescue survivors. At 4:10 a.m. the Carpathia picks up the first lifeboat of survivors. Not long after that the Carpathia leaves for New York at 8:50 a.m.

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This is the White Star Line maiden voyage Titanic poster. The maiden voyage left from Southampton, England for New York CIty.

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This is the New York Times paper on April 16, 1912 reporting the tragedy of the Titanic.

Nearly 1500 die in Titanic due to Lack of Lifeboats

Following the casatrophe (kuh-TAS-truh-fee), Titanic survivor Lawrence Beesley wrote a letter to the London Times with suggestions. He suggested that vessels should not be allowed to leave port without enough lifeboats for all passengers and crew. In May 1912, there was a commission led by High Court judge Lord Mersey. The conclusion of the British Wreck Commissioner’s report said that the excessive speed of the ship and collision with an iceberg, resulted in the sinking of the Titanic. There were also 3 recommendations to keep this from happening again.

  1. The first was to have 24 hour wireless operators working. A ship named The Californian was about 10 miles away and did not respond to the Titanic’s distress signals because the wireless operators were sleeping. They did not have 24 hour operators; therefore, they were unaware of the telegrams being sent. If they did have 24 hour operators, then maybe there would have been more survivors.

  2. The second was to always have life boat drills. There was a lot of confusion when the lifeboats needed to be filled. Third class passengers did not know where to go to board the lifeboats. The lifeboats were not being loaded to their full capacity and many more passengers could have been saved if they filled the boats and instructed the passengers where to go in case of an emergency.

  3. The third recommendation was to always have enough lifeboats for every person. Titanic did not have enough lifeboats for all passengers in case of an emergency. The builder of Titantic thought they would take up to much deck space. The Titanic was thought to be unsinkable. If there were more lifeboats on the Titanic then many more would have survived.

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This is a drawing of what it may have looked like to people in the lifeboats as the Titanic sank.

Survivor Stories

Charlotte Collyer

Charlotte Collyer was thirty-one years old and traveled on Titanic with her husband Harvey and eight year old daughter, Marjorie. She and her daughter were rescued in lifeboat 14 and her husband died in the sinking.

Violet Jessop

Violet Jessop was the eldest of six children. Violet left school to become a stewardess to help take care of her family. She worked on three of the White Star Line ships. She served on the Olympic and was on the Titanic’s maiden voyage. She was rescued in life boat 16. She also survived the sinking of the Britannic in 1916. She died in 1971.

J. Bruce Ismay

J. Bruce Ismay was the owner of the White Star Line. He became a partner in the Belfast ship building firm and built Olympic class ships. These ships were the most luxurious ships of all time. Ismay always went on the maiden voyage of all the ships. During the Titanic sinking, Ismay selfishly saved himself by jumping into Collapsible C lifeboat to save his life.

Harold Bride

Harold Bride was a wireless operator on the Titanic with Jack Philips. Bride and Philips worked until the end sending out distress signals. They were heroes. Bride escaped on Collapsible B but suffered injuries to his feet due to the position he was in on top of the lifeboat and the cold temperatures. Jack Philips died. When Bride was on the Carpathia he helped wireless operator Harold Cottam send personal messages from survivors. Harold Bride married in 1919 and named his son Jack.

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Collapsible Boat B was upside down in the water. Harold Bride and others stayed alive on the bottom of the boat.

Titanic Survivors